Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Audiobook Review: Carter Finally Gets It

Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford, read by Nick Podehl.  Grades 7-10.  Brilliance Audio, 2009.  8 hours, 21 minutes.  Purchased from audible.com

This audiobook is FANTASTIC!!! Nick Podehl, where have you been all my life?

Will Carter is a new freshman and he's dealing with all the trials and tribulations that go along with that. He wants a girlfriend, but he's not quite sure how to deal with one when he starts dating Abby. He plays sports, goes to parties with his friends (where he'd rather drink Mountain Dew than beer), and screws up absolutely everything he comes in contact with. But as the year progresses, Carter will finally start to figure things out.

Things I loved about this book: 

- Realistic male voice (made even more so by Nick Podehl's expert interpretation and dramatization).  Brent Crawford's not holding anything back here, folks.  You are invited into the MIND OF A 14-YEAR-OLD BOY.  Be afraid, very afraid.  Um, but actually, while Carter does really stupid stuff sometimes, it's just because he's still trying to figure things out.  His heart is usually in the right place, which made him endearing.  Of course, tween (and young teen) boys will just find him hilarious. 

- The humor!  I was laughing out loud throughout this book and it just made for a really enjoyable audiobook experience.  Narrator Nick Podehl really hams it up with different voices for the characters and dramatic inflection.  Super, super job. 

- The heart.  Yes, Carter's kind of a jerk, but he's really honestly trying here.  High school's overwhelming between the school work, sports practices, dealing with girls (and hooormooones!), and trying to look cool on top of all of that.  More often than not, Carter's messing something up.  And that gives guy readers an empathetic character.  

- The narration!  I don't know if I've mentioned it enough, but Nick Podehl brings the story to life with his reading of this work.  This is an audiobook that will create dedicated fans of the audio genre.  I know I'm already scrabbling for anything else Podehl has narrated.

This is such an excellent book and I want to heartily recommend it to EVERYONE, but I know that it won't be everyone's cup of tea.  It's worth noting that Carter thinks about sex, well, most of the time, and Brent Crawford doesn't shy away from the details.  There's also alcohol use and fights.  But it's absolutely in keeping with Carter's character and not done in a gratuitous way.  (However, it does permeate the book, so that's just something to be aware of...)

This is a book that definitely straddles the line between tween and teen and for some guys it will be exactly the kind of book they need.  It's a funny, enjoyable book about a guy who's going through much of the same stuff they're going through and who's giving them hope that they'll figure it out someday, too.

Will Carter reminded me of no one more than a high-school-age Greg Heffley, so hand this to young teens who loved Diary of a Wimpy Kid for the humor. This would also make a good choice for kids who dug the realistic male protagonist in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Alexie Sherman (another awesome recording).

Carter Finally Gets It is on shelves now and there's even a sequel on shelves now, too: Carter's Big Break.  Sadly, it doesn't look like Carter's Big Break is available on audio, but I sincerely hope that it will be at some point! 

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